It was pretty apparent that I still have some things to clarify about my last post from some of the messages I got so here goes:
No, I no longer have it in me to make any attempts at salvaging my marriage. I know when my limit was reached the same way I knew trying to salvage the relationships I was supposed to have with those certain people in my life was a textbook case in futility. When you know, you just know.
|Photo courtesy of Martz|
No, I'm not putting the demise of my marriage entirely on my own shoulders. It was as much my husband's fault as it was mine. So many things were said and done, as well as things that weren't said and weren't done, between us over the years that it's hard to go back to try to reconcile and make amends, especially when the straw that broke the camel's back was so stinging and so hurtful that it just made me unbelievably angry. To realize that I was really angry and hurt over it took a long time too, because I thought that perhaps I was in the wrong. In the end, I was pissed because, ultimately, I was accused of doing something I definitely did NOT do and I was deeply hurt.
How do I describe that hurt? How can I describe that pain? I imagine it to be like when Julius Caesar, so unwavering in his faith and love of Marcus Brutus, realized that his trusted friend and confidante was a willing participant in his assassination. Along with wondering why they would do such a deed, you feel sadness because this is what's happened to your relationship. That sadness feels like your internal organs are getting slowly sucked into one of those tar pits, and you're slowly sinking into it from the inside out. And then you're angry at the other person, for treating you this way, for getting you in this predicament, and you're pissed off at yourself for not having seen this shit sooner.
|Vincenzo Camuccini's depiction of the assassination of Julius Caesar|
Recovery has been a long and slow process, and one that I only just started in earnest in late April of this year. It's definitely going to take a while, especially since things were pretty crappy for a few years. When you're the one who ends a relationship, you get ALL the feelings, especially guilt. I remember being asked (before I left) if I shouldn't stay and give my marriage another shot. It's not a question to be answered so quickly but I'll give you the same answer:
I've been fortunate to have been around couples whose marriages are still super romantic and strong, even after more than three decades. I've also been around many couples whose marriages are stagnant and they're just as happy letting it be stagnant, with them thinking that they'll get to it later when the kids have grown and flown the coop. I was in the latter, happy to resolve whatever issues we had when our boys grew up and moved away. When things happen to make you question whether you want to stay or go, and you see how that has now affected your children, the decision to stay is no longer as concrete as it used to be. For me, I realized that I did not want my children to grow up thinking that my marriage was normal. I wanted them to be madly in love with their spouses, to challenge their spouses and to be challenged by them. I wanted them to know what it was like to truly respect their spouses, and what it takes to earn their respect. Most of all, I wanted them to know what being a "partner" truly means, that support goes both ways, that they know what needs to be done to foster an openly communicative relationship. And when they get into an argument with their spouses, they'll know when to apologize when they're in the wrong. However, it's also just as important that they recognize that they need to apologize even when they're right, because even in argument they've made their partner feel like shit. That, no matter what, they have each other and each other's backs because they have a strong foundation built on trust and friendship. Because one's thoughts, beliefs, and ideals on a committed relationship is built upon their parents', there was no way I could let my boys grow up believing that they can let their own relationships get stagnant. Lead by example, right?
|Image courtesy of Pixar Wiki|
How can I lead by example? The first (and very hard) part was done. The next step is for me to show them what a strong woman is like, and what it's like to love her. The way I can accomplish that is to first show them that I am absolutely deserving of being loved and respected the way I want to be loved and respected. For someone who's never been girlie enough (I was a total tomboy as a child), or pretty enough (nobody likes someone with rashes on their body) or smart enough (it's tough when you're not bringing home straight A's), or even Chinese enough, it's a tall order to get yourself from a place of inadequacy to one of hell-yeah-I-absolutely-deserve-to-be-here-biatches-so-suck-it. So just like with anything that's well worth the effort, I just have to remember to take it with baby steps.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I'll talk about the great challenge I was brought face-to-face with as I was just starting to get on my feet. As always, thanks for stopping by. :)